Saturday, March 29, 2008

Two Hundred Mommy Facts

  1. I have two children. My son is 6 and my daughter is 3.
  2. I am 41 and my husband is 44.
  3. I met my husband, on the phone, while we worked for the same company.
  4. We had a long distance relationship for two years until we married in 1995.
  5. Biting on cotton is nearly unbearable for me.
  6. I love the smell of books, especially new books.
  7. I miss my maternal grandmother every single day.
  8. I have very dry skin.
  9. I hate it when people talk or ask questions during a movie.
  10. I love being with people in short bursts.
  11. I recharge my batteries by being alone.
  12. The song "It's Not Easy Being Green" by Kermit the Frog always makes me cry.
  13. I love my mother.
  14. Airplane take-offs make my heart race.
  15. I have dieted, with varying degrees of success, since I was 19 years old.
  16. Parochial schools were my saving grace.
  17. When I was 15, I thought Brooke Shields was the prettiest girl on the planet.
  18. My closet is almost always a total disaster.
  19. I officially joined the Catholic Church in 2002.
  20. I love cars.
  21. Long before I met my husband, I lived in a warehouse among many artists.
  22. I am proud of and thankful for my life as it is now.
  23. I lost my mother-in-law two weeks ago and it still does not seem real.
  24. I love to dress children.
  25. I can be very outgoing but being so does not come naturally.
  26. My eighth-grade teacher changed my life for the better.
  27. I think women should dress modestly.
  28. I occasionally regret not going to law school.
  29. Some of my friends I have had for over thirty-five years.
  30. My son's sense of humor amazes me.
  31. My daughter's empathy amazes me.
  32. I know how to drive a stick-shift.
  33. I feel more comfortable leading than following.
  34. l drove across the country by myself—twice.
  35. An ex-boyfriend is now a recognized photographer who works with many celebrities.
  36. I love fresh flowers.
  37. My freshman year in college was incredibly fun and liberating.
  38. The art of chit chat is not one of my strong points.
  39. I regret my treatment of a friend from young adulthood.
  40. Walking barefoot gives me the willies.
  41. I love really nice purses.
  42. I am thankful to my parents for giving me life.
  43. I detest smoking.
  44. Sometimes being a SAHM/homemaker is really boring.
  45. I wish I could play an instrument.
  46. I graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
  47. I have the best aunt on the planet.
  48. I love my children so much it makes my heart hurt.
  49. A reference is made about me in a published work of fiction.
  50. My husband has a very high tolerance for my faults.
  51. The world is so beautiful to me sometimes.
  52. I have won a lot of money playing blackjack.
  53. I love Coca-Cola.
  54. My hair is naturally curly.
  55. I have bungee jumped.
  56. Lovely is my favorite fragrance.
  57. I wash my face before bed time, without fail, every night.
  58. I met and had a conversation with Mariel Hemingway at a party.
  59. My favorite actor is Ralph Fiennes.
  60. I'm mildly curious about botox.
  61. I never thought I would love living in the Midwest as much as I do.
  62. I love Jane Austen's work.
  63. I wear a lot less make-up than I did when I was younger.
  64. I watch very little network TV.
  65. NPR bores me to tears.
  66. I am fascinated by certain aspects of politics.
  67. I want to take horseback riding lessons with my daughter.
  68. I wish I had a closer relationship with my brothers and sisters.
  69. I plan to visit the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in the next few months.
  70. When I go back to California to see friends and family, I feel like a visitor.
  71. I'm less materialistic than I used to be.
  72. I don't like to stay overnight at people's houses.
  73. I sometimes wonder what I would be doing right now had I never married.
  74. I used to be "pro-choice".
  75. Cooking does not come naturally to me.
  76. I currently know of someone who needs my friendship very badly.
  77. I want to be more generous with my time.
  78. I marvel at both the talent and the stupidity in the blogging community.
  79. I would love to have a restaurant style soda machine in my house.
  80. I would like to curse less.
  81. Eating raw carrots gives me the hiccups.
  82. I wish I could have one more child.
  83. I love Disneyworld.
  84. I don't wear nail polish.
  85. Chinese food no longer appeals to me.
  86. I procrastinate over certain things.
  87. I can't sleep at night unless I've checked that the entry doors are locked.
  88. Underneath the hair coloring and highlights, I am more than 50% gray.
  89. I'll go without many things before I give up my cleaning lady.
  90. I love Super Nanny.
  91. I'll take a bath over a shower if I have the time.
  92. I love a well stocked, organized linen closet.
  93. I adore Sting.
  94. FOX News gives me a headache.
  95. I'm more lenient as a parent than I imagined I would be.
  96. I'm a hair/beauty product addict.
  97. I like our cars to be clean.
  98. Writing is therapy for me.
  99. I have googled my own name.
  100. I find some Catholic bloggers to be sanctimonious.
  101. I drink alcohol very infrequently.
  102. I don't like coffee.
  103. I would be lost without my computer.
  104. I love to send Christmas cards.
  105. Perky people make me ill at ease.
  106. I have very little tanning ability.
  107. I ask the Lord for His forgiveness nearly every day.
  108. I love to read to my children at night.
  109. I laugh every time I watch "Four Weddings and a Funeral".
  110. There are a handful of people whose approval I seek.
  111. I survived years of childhood abuse at the hands of an entrusted caregiver.
  112. My visit to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam made a lasting impression on me.
  113. I hoard hotel toiletries.
  114. I have a Pez collection.
  115. I can't use butter that has a single crumb in it.
  116. I would like to be more disciplined.
  117. Scrapbooking holds no interest for me.
  118. I listen to talk radio every day.
  119. I no longer hear Midwestern accents.
  120. I find my attention span is not what it used to be.
  121. My children's academic success is very important to me.
  122. I don't really enjoy the beach.
  123. I'm sincere.
  124. I love to use our fireplaces.
  125. One of my favorite shops is American Girl in downtown Chicago.
  126. I used to be a vegetarian.
  127. I love Roseanne reruns.
  128. I have no desire to home school my children.
  129. I'm very consistent about changing linens on my family's beds.
  130. I never realized that one needs seven different kinds of coats to live in our region's climate.
  131. I love snowy, blustery days.
  132. It is a big relief to know that my daughter will not be physically challenged.
  133. I often think of my sponsor daughter in Ethiopia.
  134. I don't like anything that is gelatinous.
  135. I love my Princess Diana doll.
  136. I get in moods where I don't like to talk on the phone.
  137. I get in moods where all I want to do is talk on the phone.
  138. I admire Oprah but she's starting to bug me.
  139. When I was twenty I promised myself I would never wear "mom clothes".
  140. I wear mom clothes.
  141. I don't like hot dogs.
  142. I love Crocs.
  143. I wish my kitchen was just a little bigger.
  144. I'm not a fanatic about my kids' diet.
  145. A visit to Kennedy Space Center made me wonder how we ever made it to the moon.
  146. Mackinac Island is a little slice of heaven.
  147. I miss Carmel, California.
  148. No one's lemon squares will ever rival my mother-in-law's
  149. I have purchased underwear when I didn't feel like doing laundry.
  150. I have a very sensitive sense of smell.
  151. I need to drink more water.
  152. I have a very good memory for phone numbers.
  153. I constantly lose my keys.
  154. I love Amy Winehouse's music.
  155. My willpower is not what it once was.
  156. I hope my daughter never has to struggle with her weight.
  157. I'm surprisingly decent at softball.
  158. I think people are surprised by how religious I am.
  159. I do have moments of absolute contentment.
  160. I firmly believe in the concept of evil as a reality in the world.
  161. I love the Yankee Candle store but I get a headache if stay too long.
  162. Downtown shopping is loads of fun.
  163. The generosity of many of my friends is amazing.
  164. I'm due for a mammogram.
  165. I have never misplaced my watch.
  166. I love spending time with my family.
  167. I want to learn how to snowboard.
  168. Sometimes I wish I weren't so serious.
  169. I'm a suburban girl; I was not meant to live in the city.
  170. I have been a SAHM longer than I worked outside the home.
  171. I recognize that my husband works tirelessly for our family.
  172. One friend's family disharmony breaks my heart.
  173. I recently met a new friend who I think is right-up-my-alley.
  174. I'm an avid reader.
  175. I wish my neighborhood was more ethnically diverse.
  176. I need to be better about returning phone calls.
  177. I have a friend who is over 90 years old.
  178. My father-in-law's stories are often very interesting to me.
  179. I really like "American Experience" on PBS.
  180. I'm not entirely convinced that jazz is all it's cracked up to be.
  181. We pay a disproportionate amount of taxes.
  182. I like going to Las Vegas.
  183. I love my father.
  184. Cocktail parties are not really my thing.
  185. I wonder what heaven is like.
  186. I feel sad that my third grade teacher wore the same outfit every day of the school year.
  187. Sometimes I feel at a loss as to how to keep my kids busy.
  188. I don't like caramel.
  189. Modern art doesn't hold the same appeal for me as it used to.
  190. I was crazy for MTV when it first aired in 1982.
  191. My wedding was beautiful.
  192. I wish they still made Chick-o-Sticks.
  193. I developed a new respect for Madonna once I saw her perform live.
  194. I worked for Clinique way, way back when.
  195. There are a few people with whom I avoid confrontation at all cost.
  196. My cat is cute but dumber than dirt.
  197. Watching a loved one die peacefully is both heart wrenching and beautiful.
  198. I don't really like casseroles.
  199. I'm getting tired of going to the grocery store.
  200. I am the age my mother was when I graduated from college.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Slacker Church Behavior

The great thing about Catholic converts is that we tend to be pretty enthusiastic about our faith. We can recite the Nicene Creed in our sleep. Sacramentals adorn every room in our homes. We will gladly tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Lourdes, Fatima, and Majegoria. How about a Novena? We can crank one out like nobody's business.

So imagine, if you will, how deflated we must feel when a fellow Catholic gives a blank look and asks, "What's a Novena?"

After recovering from exasperation and disbelief, we methodically explain about the practice of praying (often the Rosary) for nine consecutive days. To which you might hear,

"Oh, I think my great-grandmother did something like that back in the day. We just thought she was senile".

As Charlie Brown used to say, "Good grief". In fact , a little of Lucy's 5 cent psychiatric care might ease my impulse to pull out a ruler and inflict the proper penance for such a dim response.

I know, I know. There is nothing worse than a convert when it comes to telling everyone else what they're supposed to be doing. And it's true, we RCIA cadets emerge from our discernment with convictions that are freshly honed and admittedly, perhaps just a wee over zealous. You know, preachy. But grant me this...we converts chose our faith, as adults, and unlike "cradle Catholics", we learned the practices and teachings of the Church with an adult intellect and from an experienced perspective. I think this gives us a degree of credibility when it comes to professing our faith and justifying the intentions that drive such an eager commitment. We also tend to notice more of the "routine" aspects of worship than do our "lifer" brothers and sisters.

So, at the risk of sounding like the Church Lady, here is some less-than-spirited Church conduct that I've noticed over the years:

Half-Hearted Mass Participation:
Genuflection requires that you lower yourself, on one knee, to the ground. Curtsies, knee twitches, and leg stretches do not count. The disabled and elderly get a pass, apparently.

When bowing to the alter or before the Blessed Sacrament, try to make it appear as more than a flinch or a nod to a distant acquaintance on the street. We should not have to wonder if your bow was actually a brief neck spasm.

When blessing yourself before the Gospel of the Word, you are reminding yourself to keep the Word in your mind, on your lips, and in your heart. I’m not sure that making the gesture on your temple, your nose, and on your shoulder blade makes the same statement. Is it really that hard to locate your forehead, lips, and the general location of your heart?

Prayer Slackers:
Unless you are younger than five, learn the prayers of our faith. Don’t lip sync your way through and hope that your pew neighbor’s loud voice obscures your befuddled lack of participation. Avoid whining about the Nicene Creed taking too long to recite. The Apostles Creed works but it is the Reader’s Digest version, friends.

Try to recite prayers with more enthusiasm than that which you would give to a chore list. Somehow, “Hosanna in the highest” loses its impact when you’re also wiping your kid’s nose or mentally compiling your weekly grocery list. Don’t think people notice your prayer distraction? They do. More importantly, I'm thinking God notices too. I'm not speaking for Him, mind you. Just a leap on my part.

Bad Church Etiquette:
Avoid club wear to Mass. I doubt God cares how hot you are. Save the low-rise jeans, skin tight tops, and micro-minis for a location other than church. You should probably avoid this attire altogether but that one is your call. I can't be everyone's mommy.

Have your kids change out of their sports uniforms for Mass. Unless it’s a dire hardship, just put the darlings in proper street clothes. Somehow, hobbling to receive Communion in soccer cleats doesn’t seem particularly reverent. A gi clad Karate chopper or a padded, jersey wearing football player may be slightly distracting to those of us in the stands. I mean pews.

Wear your Sunday best. If this is a laundered pair of jeans and an unwrinkled t-shirt...great. You don't have to put on airs for the Lord. But I think a little respect is on order, don’t you? How about avoiding the cargo pants that have been rolled up in a ball, on the floor, and under your cat? Ladies, how about trading in the yoga pants for a skirt or a dress?

Wait until Mass has ended before assembling babies, coats, hats, mittens, scarves, electronic devices, snacks, children’s books and all the rest of it. FYI: Mass isn’t over as soon as you’ve received Communion. Who knew?

It’s probably not a great idea to flip the Body of Christ around on your tongue like a lifesaver. Think about what’s in your mouth. It’s not bubble gum and it’s not an after-dinner mint.


OK...I'm done. For now, anyway. Admittedly, I'm guilty of at least a few of these from time to time.

Let's all remember what it is that we're celebrating, commemorating, and honoring. Life has an uncanny way of getting in the way of all we hold most dear.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Assume It's a Sin

My favorite blogging nun, Sister Mary Martha, recently posted on what she considers to be "sins of the new millennium". These "sins" are actually what the rest of us would describe as obnoxious behavior. You know...irritating realities that have somehow infiltrated our daily lives. Take, for example, the endless, rambling cell phone banter we hear from perfect strangers. Constantly. In a taxi. At the grocery store. Fast food workers wearing Bluetooth earpieces. Yapping about last night’s party-at-the-club while keying in food items that in no way approximate anything you actually ordered.

You might wonder which other random vexations Sister MM extols to the full-fledged rank of SIN...

Deep fried macaroni and cheese. Self-righteous cable talk show hosts. Tooth bling. I'll even throw in a few on her behalf: A lone sales clerk for a line of 28 at a fabric store close-out sale. Brain-dead bank tellers. Naming your newborn child Blueberry Jade instead of her Church sanctioned saint name, Agnes Scholastica. Baptizing your child when he/she wears a size 6X. Even THINKING about missing Mass to catch that Bears game. Failing to return your pew kneeler to the upright and locked position. Got the gist?

These life irritations may not fall under the heading of sin in our world, but all of the above clearly register on Sister’s transgression radar. Call it creative license in the condemnation department. And while you might dismiss her extended sin criteria as the ravings of a crusty, worn out nun, you can be sure that generations of scheme-hatching munchkins were subjected to similar world views from equally observant, habit-wearing arbiters of all things sinful.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, you know. I, for one, just assumed that nuns took a liberty-or-two when it came to characterizing sin. Not an altogether bad strategy to maintain a shred of order among their numerous, young charges. I'm not sure it did much for the Church's ultimate credibility, but hey, it's what some of these overworked women had to do to keep untold numbers of miniature heathens in line.

More nun manufactured sinfulness:

poor penmanship

wrinkled pleats on uniform jumpers

edge of pleats on uniform jumpers which do not create paper cuts

untucked, Peter Pan collared blouses


uniforms that reveal any indication of the female form

dog-eared textbook pages

dirty chalk board erasers

dirty desk tops

glossy Chapstick (dangerously close to appearing like make-up)

failing to volunteer at the rectory to staple church bulletins

bringing store bought cupcakes to the bake sale

using the edge of the pew to support your backside while kneeling

singing at Mass with Baptist-like enthusiasm

singing at Mass with any enthusiasm

engaging in activities that seem too “Protestant”. Bible camps, holding hands in church, etc.

laughter of any kind during the retirement mass of an archbishop. (Not that I had any personal experience with this, mind you.)

anything or anyone not deemed specifically holy or pure

As a kid you might have thought twice about arriving 1.5 minutes late from recess if your punishment was certain, eternal damnation to the fires of you-know-where. A slightly more persuasive deterrent than the obligatory 150-word essay, no doubt.

So give the nuns a little leeway in the sin definition department. They're still pulling out all the stops to get a maximum number of souls into Heaven. Overkill, in this case, never actually killed anyone. It kept generations of children on the straight and narrow. (And afforded financial security to countless mental health practitioners.)

P.S. I adore Sister Mary Martha. And several other nuns for that matter. All in good fun, right?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Philippians, You Say?

When asked if I would be willing to give a reading at my mother-in-law's recent funeral mass, I had no qualms. Of course. Anything I could do to contribute to the celebration of her life would be an honor and a privilege.

I wasn't particularly worried about reading a paragraph of scripture to what would surely be a large but loving group of friends and relatives. After all, most of these people I have known or known of for many years. It was my plan to read the passage a few times in the morning before the mass and that would be ample preparation. No worries. Right?

Enter my prankster brother-in-law. As my mother-in-law's wake began to wind down, he mischievously cautioned me to not mistakenly designate the reading as "A Letter From St. Paul To the Filipinos". I assured him with a twinge of irritation that I was well aware that Paul was addressing the Philippians.

"I'm just sayin'. You just might get it twisted", he warned. Eyes twinkling.

"Thanks for the tip. There is no way I could make that mistake", I humorlessly huffed.

After collapsing that night in the hotel bed, I was on the verge of drifting off when the thought of the word Filipinos flashed thought my mind. Filipinos. Philippians. Philippians. Filipinos. Filipinos. Filipinos. Filipinos. Philippians. Philippians. Philippians. OK, Leigh. Stop thinking about this. Oh dear God. Filipinos, Philippians. Filipinos, Philippians. I might actually hose this thing!

I was panic stricken for several minutes before I talked myself out of my brain short circuit. Thankfully, the need for sleep prevailed. But I awoke in the morning to the distinct memory of a dream in which I aimlessly wandered in Vallejo, California, from one nondescript restaurant to another, increasingly distraught because none of them were serving Lumpia or Chicken Adobo.

My brother-in-law doomed me. My fate was sealed. I was going to flub-up this thing. (You can use your imagination and replace flub with another expletive, if your mind goes there. Believe me--mine went there!)

Well, I didn't. Flub it up, that is. By the grace of God.

My husband smiled as I read to the crowded church,

"A reading from St. Paul to the....(slight pause) Philippians."

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone; the Lord is very near. There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that piece of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. Finally, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honor, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. Keep doing all things that you learned from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4: 4-9)

Philippians or Filipinos. Mexicans or Moldavians. Any way you shake it, Millie was smiling, even chuckling, I bet. I can hear her now...

"It's fine Leigh, OK?. It's about what you're saying, not about being perfect, OK? And that swearing, it's not the first time I've heard it, OK? Just say flub, if you can..."

Got it Millie. I got it.

Apparently, there really is no need to worry. Or curse, for that matter. Both are habits I can do without.

Life goes on. Flub-ups and all.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

For Once....

I just don't feel like putting words to thoughts. Thoughts to words. Whatever... The noggin is tightly packed, as usual, but I wouldn't know where to start, where to end.

Sometimes you just have to let it all stew.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

She is Home....

My dearest mother-in-law Millie passed away very early this morning. She was surrounded by her family.

In keeping with my father-in-law's wish for expedited services, a wake will be held tomorrow (Sunday) and her funeral Mass will be performed on Monday.

All will be welcome. (Would Millie have it any other way?)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Prayers For the Journey

You will be home soon, my dear Millie. I see our Father, arms open wide, waiting with all the love that any one could ever imagine.

In the meantime, you are loved right here, right now. For the hours or days that remain.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Flowers ALWAYS Work For Me!

Virtual flowers from my U.K. blogger-in-kind.
Why thank you!

She has six of these people we call children. The fact that she maintains a blog, raises a team of kids, and HOMESCHOOLS is nothing short of a feat.

Visit her site to take a peek "across the pond" at the life of a homeschooling mum of six. Very charming.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

JoJo's Alter Ego

...more than a passing resemblance if you ask me...

Currently, JoJo's favorite bedtime book. You know the drill. I've read it no less than 94 times. She doesn't read but she knows every word. On really busy nights, I'll try to pull a fast one and skip a few phrases.

"Oh, chippy! I know what yuwa twying to do! Yuwa twying to twick me!" (Speech clarification: think "Tweety Bird".)

Well, actually, yes, I was. Out of guilt, I finish every word of "Alice". Then, as more restitution, I
grab another book. (Who's running this operation, anyway?)

Anything by David Shannon wins mommy big points. The kid adores this guy's books. I do too, for that matter. E, on the other hand, says Shannon "draws boys and girls all scary and weird".

Hmmm. He may have a point, although I think Shannon's illustrations are enchanting. They're the most interesting mix of child-like drawing and inspired artistry.

I guess his figures are a little creepy, huh?

Friday, March 07, 2008

The "Rules" ?

A fellow Catholic mom blogger posted the following:

Ten Rules for a Happy & Successful Wife

1.) Avoid arguments. Your husband has his share from other sources.

2.) Don't nag.

3.) Don't drink or eat to excess.

4.) If you offend your husband, always ask forgiveness before you retire.

5.) Compliment your husband liberally. It makes him a better husband.

6.) Budget wisely together. Live within your income.

7.) Be sociable and go out with your husband.

8.) Dress neatly and attractively for your husband, and keep your home clean and cheerful.

9.) Keep your household troubles to yourself.

10.) Pray together and stay together.

To which I replied (slightly edited from my original comments to correct grammar and improve content):

Something tells me that this list was originally composed by a woman. Good Lord, we are often so hard on each other.

Do these "rules" apply to husbands as well? I'm not a "feminist" as popular culture defines such a label. And no single "rule" is offensive or even necessarily "wrong". In aggregate, however, the "rules" seem more than a little oppressive. Your list just smacks of retrograde marriage/motherhood from the 1950s. During that era, Valium use/abuse by married women of childbearing age reached epidemic levels. Imagine that.

This list is similar to the "wife/mother doctrine" espoused by Mormons, by the way. It's not coincidental that Utah's women are considered the most depressed in the nation and have the highest rate of antidepressant usage in America. I think it's important to remember that we're human beings, not servile robots. When we live ONLY to meet someone else's practical and emotional needs, we eventually whither. Or worse.

As a Catholic mother and wife, I strive to bear my cross and offer up my weaknesses. On the other hand, I don't think my husband wants or expects a long suffering martyr. Can we dispense with mandates and just focus on being loving, supportive spouses in the context of a partnership? Please?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

California Homeschooling Ruling

I just heard this morning that in California, it has been ruled that parents are no longer permitted to home school unless the teaching parent is credentialed accordingly. Wow. This will have a sweeping impact since it's my understanding that 100,000+ children are taught at home in that state. (My birthplace and home for 34 years).

I can only imagine what some of the blogging moms will think of this ruling. You have to think that other like-minded states will follow suite (i.e., New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Michigan, Washington, perhaps even Illinois).

As for me, I'm torn. For once, I'm on the fence. I see the merit of both sides of the argument. I'll have to stew on this one. Part of me thinks the teacher's union had a hand in this somehow...Still, if anyone can effectively instruct, why do paid teachers receive undergraduate and post graduate degrees?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

200th Post

I just noticed that my last post was my 200th (for this blog alone). That's a whole lotta dribble if you ask me.

Sometimes people ask me why I blog. Where do I get the time? Am I an aspiring writer? Am I at all concerned about my family's privacy? What's the fascination with documenting silly details, occurrences, observations? Do I really think anyone else cares about my life's minutia?

I can't say with any real certainty how much or how little people care about my world. But I can say with absolute conviction that blogging has become a habit. I, like many others, have found that writing allows me to clear the hard drive, so to speak. If I put words to thoughts, I feel like my tightly packed noggin becomes a little less cluttered.

The blog started entirely as a way to journal my life as a mother and to chronicle the goings-on of my children. What a gift it will be to one day bestow them with their mother's narrative. How I wish that my mother and grandmothers had done it for me. After all, so much is forgotten as time passes. And I believe that adult children can benefit from understanding their parents' past elations, motivations, challenges, convictions, and yes, disappointments. My hope is that my story will give some context to their childhood memories and insight into my (and my husband's) parental choices.

Admittedly, I have other, less lofty reasons for keeping a blog. I like the relationships I have fostered with other bloggers. We learn from each other by engaging in a level of discourse that is generally supportive, often creative, and almost always engaging. Motherhood is often a confining and lonely endeavor, no matter how many children surround us. Face-to-face friendships are important but lets face's tough to coordinate schedules to carve out that quality time together. I don't mean squeezing in a few sentences with friends during a play date or over a soccer game. There is plenty of that. I'm talking about taking the time to sit down with someone and have a distraction free, relaxed conversation. Not easy to come by, that is for sure. In the blogosphere, however, you blog when you can, read other blogs from all over the world, and comment on posts that strike a chord. When you feel like it. On your schedule.

And I love to write. I have ever since I was a teenager. The arrangement of words is endlessly fascinating to me. Even the most prosaic discourse can have a certain elegance to it. Does the sentence overstate the case? Is that metaphor overly trite? Does my purposeful misuse of grammar appear as such or does it just seem like I failed sixth grade English? Have I aptly conveyed what I was really thinking or did I somehow miss the mark? Do I really need that "Dom Perignon " caliber word when the "Two-Buck-Chuck" suffices nicely?

While my posts do not often meet a literary standard, there are many which make me happy and a handful that even elicit a bit of pride. Some were written in a matter of minutes and others took hours. It is true that I easily lose track of time when composing a new post or editing an old one. And when I'm not writing, my thoughts often wander to old posts. I frequently think of words or phrases that better depict my intent or convey my point with greater subtlety. I just love the way a single comma can completely change an idea's meaning. How the artful choice of words can create a sentence that perfectly reflects the complexity of a thought. Or how uninspired composition makes the very same sentence appear pretentious and contrived.

I would really feel like something was askew if I suddenly stopped blogging. Ultimately, I find great comfort in capturing life's moments in words. And by sharing convictions with those who express an interest (or with the poor sap who unwittingly stumbles upon my site). On some days, only a few die hards check in and on others, I receive hundreds of hits. Either way, I will be blogging into the foreseeable future.

Let's see how the next two hundred posts unfold. God willing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Song Says It All

"For Good"

This beautiful song from the Broadway musical "Wicked" almost always brings me to tears.

Especially tonight.

(P.S. Every girl, young and old, should see this show.)

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(Elphaba) I'm limited
Just look at me - I'm limited
And just look at you
You can do all I couldn't do, Glinda
So now it's up to you
For both of us - now it's up to you...

(Glinda) I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

(Elphaba) It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

(Glinda) Because I knew you

(Both) I have been changed for good

(Elphaba) And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the thing I've done you blame me for

(Glinda) But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share

(Both) And none of it seems to matter anymore

(Glinda) Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood

(Elphaba) Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood

(Both) Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better

(Glinda) And because I knew you...

(Elphaba) Because I knew you...

(Both) Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good.

Prayers, please

My beloved mother-in-law is very ill and is being admitted to the hospital yet again. Please, faithful friends, pray for this incredible lady who is having a very hard go of it. None of us can imagine the world without her, and if it should come to that, we will need your prayers as well.

My mother-in-law has a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. If you could also join me in praying for our Blessed Mother's intercession, I would be truly grateful.

Again, our thanks, in Christ,


Sunday, March 02, 2008


Kidspeak. Toddler talk. We parents get pretty good at deciphering our kids' muddled attempts to speak everyday English. Just today my son asked me when we could go visit cousin "Domino" (he meant Dominic). That got me thinking about a few memorable words and phrases that my two little people have unwittingly bungled (or improved upon, you decide).


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your tree, Jesus.

God's outfit

money card

Abraham Lickin'

Communion waiver

How can I get one of those money machines?

Darth Tater
(The toy really exists but little man referred to the movie character as such for at least a year.)

Are we having cow bones for dinner?

Block and Buster

I'll have a Friday sandwich.


The guy who brings stuff from ebay

Freaky Fried Chicken


Missy Mouse


movie heaters

Jennifer Grievous


hot log

"In the name of the Father, the fun, and the Holy Spirit..."

Saturday, March 01, 2008